Dessie Farrell has ruled out ever becoming Dublin football manager and insists his decision to quit as Gaelic Players Association (GPA) chief has nothing to do with inter-county management ambitions.
The former Dublin footballer will step down as CEO of the GPA in the coming days and will sign off on a high note after presiding over yesterday’s announcement of an extension to the government funded player grants scheme.
Almost €7m will be distributed to inter-county players during the period of the newly brokered three-year deal which will be worth €1.6m in 2017, €2.3m in 2018 and €3m in 2019.
The announcement comes just months after July’s historic accord between the GPA and the GAA when it was confirmed that the GPA will be cut a slice of the GAA commercial revenue pie.
Farrell will clearly leave the GPA, and by extension inter-county players, in a healthier position though where the Gaelic games revolutionary goes from here himself remains unclear.
The GPA founder member revealed he isn’t moving to another job and also ruled out the possibility of becoming a senior inter-county manager.
Farrell has guided Dublin to All-Ireland minor and U21 wins and is currently in charge of the county’s U21s with many speculating that setting aside the GPA role, and a potential conflict of interest, would allow him to pursue a senior inter-county job, possibly even in Dublin when Jim Gavin leaves.
“No, I don’t think so,” responded Farrell when asked if he might ever manage Dublin.
“Some people have suggested that that’s the reason I might have decided to step down. It’s definitely not the reason at all. I’m happy to be involved with the 21s. And that’s a big enough commitment as it is.
“It’s completely unrelated to the decision to step aside.”
The former All-Star and All-Ireland medal winning forward said he can’t ever see himself managing a senior inter-county team.
“No, I can’t to be honest. I think the commitment is too great. I’ve been happy coaching young players and being involved with young players over the years. U21 is probably the limit for me.”
The GPA first revealed in late 2007 that it had secured €3.5m in State funding for a grant scheme for county players.
That figure dipped to €900,000 in recent years before the latest announcement which will almost restore the original scheme by 2019.
Players will notice the increase in a matter of weeks as the 2017 allocation of €1.6m, which relates to those who played in 2016, will be paid in January.
The minimum grant for 2016 players will be €517 while All-Ireland finalists will receive €1,187 each, considerably up on the €290 and €667 figures for 2015.
“By the end of the three-year agreement, which will relate to the 2018 season, the maximum payment will be around €2,200 or €2,300,” said Farrell.
“To get to the place we’ve got to with this is a very good outcome for us. At government level, there’s so many priorities and there’s such a broad agenda there, you’ve just got to get in and fight your corner as best you can.”
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